Denver Broncos: Big trade affects team’s draft plans

PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 11: Josh Rosen /

The Denver Broncos got their quarterback in free agency, and that’s a good thing because teams are already positioning for QBs in the 2018 NFL Draft…

The Denver Broncos are obviously taking very seriously the fact that in 2017, they had arguably the worst quarterback situation in the NFL.

They have already signed free agent Case Keenum to a two-year, $36 million contract with $25 million in guaranteed cash, and they are also prepared to possibly take a player at the same position with their top five pick in the draft if that player is both the correct fit and a top ranked player on their board.

Both John Elway and Vance Joseph have continued to say to the media that they want to get an impact player with that pick, and they have not been shy about taking their top decision makers to the pro days of Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen this past week.

With all of that being said, a recent trade between the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts will have a ripple effect on the rest of the teams picking in the top 10 or any team looking to draft a quarterback this year.

The Colts got a really nice haul for their number three overall selection in this year’s draft, including essentially an additional first round selection with number 37 overall, and a second rounder in next year’s draft which should be — at worst — in the top 40.

It’s a great trade for the Colts in terms of value, especially if Andrew Luck can stay healthy, and a clear sign that they are done trying to build through free agency and are moving strictly to the draft until they can start piecing some things together.

For the Jets, they can now take whatever quarterback is left on the board after the Cleveland Browns pick at number one.

My biggest question here is what the Jets think the Giants are going to do at number two overall? At the very least, the Jets have to assume the Giants will take a quarterback there, or will trade that pick to another team for a king’s bounty of picks, and some other team (the Buffalo Bills) will take the quarterback they covet with that selection.

I do not think the Giants are married to the idea of taking a quarterback at number two overall.

This leads to some really interesting scenarios for the Broncos, and I think there are now guaranteed to be three quarterbacks taken ahead of Denver’s number five overall selection.

Are the Broncos going to trade up to secure a quarterback again?

If the Jets’ trade showed us anything, it’s that the starting price right now is very high. Just to move up three spots from six to three, the Jets had to surrender more than first round value in terms of draft compensation.

For the Broncos to secure a quarterback of their choosing, they would have to give up next year’s first rounder and this year’s second rounder to get up to the second overall pick with the Giants, and that’s only the beginning.

They could move up one spot with the Browns, but my guess is that the Browns will get much better offers for the fourth overall pick than whatever Denver can offer, specifically if the Browns can haul in two first round picks this year (from a team like Buffalo) or a future first round pick (from a team like Miami or Arizona).

To me, this trade by the Jets significantly decreased the Broncos’ chances of taking a quarterback in the first round, at least with the fifth overall pick, in the 2018 NFL Draft.

I am not saying they are not going to still take a quarterback with that pick, but there’s a really good chance they won’t get either Sam Darnold (predicted by many to be the top pick of Cleveland) or Josh Rosen.

The Jets were in attendance at the pro day of Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen, so my guess is they would be targeting one of those two players, and trading up to three probably ensures they will get one or the other.

The Bills are rumored to be hot after Josh Allen or Josh Rosen, so it’s very possible they will use their ridiculous amount of draft capital to move up to number two overall and take one.

When all is said and done, I wouldn’t even be shocked if the Broncos were jumped not once, not twice, but three times by teams looking to draft quarterbacks.

Yes, that would mean the top four picks of the draft would be quarterbacks.

Let’s imagine a scenario…

1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold
2. Buffalo Bills (from Giants): Josh Rosen
3. New York Jets (from Colts): Baker Mayfield
4. Arizona Cardinals (from Browns): Josh Allen

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I think that’s a very realistic scenario at this point in time.

All of these teams have made substantial investments in free agent quarterbacks — the Browns trading for Tyrod Taylor — and none are signed for more than two years. The Broncos, like these teams, invested two years in Case Keenum, but they were the only team among this group to invest a really solid amount in their quarterback after the 2018 season.

Denver has protected itself in this type of scenario, whereas the Browns, Bills, Jets, and Cardinals are all getting the quarterbacks they signed this year off the books in 2019 (though the Bills have the option to keep McCarron at a small price).

It really feels like, right now, the Broncos are fine not taking a quarterback with the fifth overall. The Jets, on the other hand, seem to be quite a bit more desperate, and we’ll see how far their desperation takes them with the thought that now, they will likely have to leapfrog the Jets to get the quarterback they covet.

This is a fascinating development, and certainly has implications on the Broncos’ top pick.